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  • Aid agencies pull out of Idlib in face of new terror threat | World news

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See the news Aid agencies pull out of Idlib in face of new terror threat | World news from Source Guardian on 12/02/2019 has been updated to day with the theme on feedixo.

Aid agencies pull out of Idlib in face of new terror threat | World news

In Syria’s Idlib province, the dust has largely settled after last month’s dramatic takeover of the area by al-Qaida-linked fighters. As a result, however, international organisations have withdrawn aid and support for schools and hospitals – and Idlib’s 3 million residents are beginning to feel the pinch.Idlib, the last pocket of Syria that remains outside President Bashar al-Assad’s control, was spared an assault by the regime and Russia last autumn, after an 11th hour truce brokered by Moscow and Ankara.The ceasefire has more or less held – but hinged on the disarmament and withdrawal of the Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) umbrella group of hardline fighters from a buffer zone.Idlib buffer zoneInstead of retreating, however, HTS grew bolder, and on 10 January declared it had forced other armed groups in the area into a surrender deal, effectively cementing its control of the entire province.And since HTS is considered a terrorist organisation by most of the international community, concerns over aid funding being diverted by the group has led several major donors to cut desperately needed funding to the area.Idlib and rural Aleppo are served by about 50 medical facilities, where salaries, medicine and equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars have been financed by non-governmental organisations and western governments.Now, however, medical staff in several places are working for free, as are teachers.“It is an unsustainable situation,” said a Kafranbel resident, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation. “All the private universities have been closed because they refused to be attached to the HTS-controlled higher education council. Courses in religion, tailored by them, are now compulsory. If any student or professor speaks out, they are dismissed or taken to prison.”Checkpoint fees for vehicles carrying food and goods from regime areas or Turkey have soared, with the costs passed on to consumers, several people said – and residents fear that dissenters will be arbitrarily arrested and tortured.Several people across Idlib expressed fears that an emboldened HTS could trigger the regime offensive that was staved off by last September’s ceasefire deal. Last year, aid agencies warned that a large-scale assault on Idlib could cause one...

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See the news Aid agencies pull out of Idlib in face of new terror threat | World news from Source Guardian on 12/02/2019 has been updated to day with the theme on feedixo.